The Pelican State is known for many things. Not all of them are positive. With its history of destructive weather and a high poverty rate, the state isn’t always seen in the most positive light. It does, however, offer so much more than people think, particularly considering its rich and distinct culture.
From its ethnically diverse history to Mardi Gras to having two cities ranked on the U.S. News list of “Best Places to Live,” the state has its fair share of surprises (and alligators).
Louisiana has a lot to prove, so we thought we’d help it out a bit. If you’re considering a move to this lively southern belle, check out these tips we’ve compiled, the good and the bad.
Louisiana is a state that has struggled in the past to get its feet underneath it. From its position during the Civil War to its controversial stance during the Civil Rights Movement, it’s a state that has been in turmoil for many years. Its job market is no stranger to the ups and downs in its success. The great news is, it’s seeing improvement every year, fueled in part by its raving nightlife and tourism industry. What can we say? The people love a good celebration.
While Wallet Hub ranked the state 49th overall for best states for job and economic opportunities, the state as a whole has a 4.4% unemployment rate, which is only a few points higher than the national average. With a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, it’s a good thing the state is ranked 19th overall for affordability by U.S. News, and 26th for affordable cost of living.
While the state may not be ranked the highest for job opportunities, it is getting better. It’s predicted that through 2024, there will be a 7% growth in employment in the state. The industries experiencing the most growth are health care, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality. The state’s tourism industry alone accounted for nearly 9% of the state’s non-farm jobs in 2015, with $11.5 billion in visitor spending. A big chunk of that is from the annual Mardi Gras celebration (more on that later).
For those who are curious, the top fastest growing jobs, according to Zippia, are software engineer, software developer, and home health aide. The companies with the largest workforces in the state include CenturyLink, Ochsner Health System, and Odyssea Marine. If your heart is set on the Pelican State, those growing industries may be your ticket into Mardi Gras bliss.
The trend toward outward mobility has been common over the last century, with many people in the flood zones in the southern part of the state leaving for safer and dryer ground. Many houses in the southern part around New Orleans and the bayous south of the city are being left to sit and await their fate. The state government is even trying to buy out houses for residents affected by the worst flooding.
Last year alone, around 27,000 Louisianans moved to other states. That made a net population decrease of around 2,000 people. Many of the moves out of state were related to the current job market. Louisianans haven’t been very happy about the current state of affairs.
With a mass exodus of people (flood- and job-related), the state has faced a surge in abandoned houses, and lower-than-average housing prices. U.S. News ranked housing affordability in Louisiana 20th in the nation. According to Zillow, the median home value in the state is $141,397, and it’s predicted to go up 1.8% over the next year. The median rent price is $1,200.
Potential movers need to take location into consideration, however. Only four cities have populations over 100,000, making much of the state rural. The majority of the housing, including new construction, is available in the four most populous cities, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport and Lafayette. If you’re looking outside of the bigger cities, housing can be found that’s cheaper but typically further along in years. The average year of when houses were built, according to Zillow, is between 1980 and 1989.
What all of this means is, if you’re planning a move, you better stick to dryer ground or your move might end up being a tad wetter than you wanted.
This state is steeped in a rich, diverse history, and has the culture and people to show for it. The land occupied by this state was bought by then-president Thomas Jefferson from the French in 1803 as part of the much larger Louisiana Purchase. Louisiana became a state in 1812, and quickly became a haven for all types of ethnicities. By the 1840s, New Orleans had the biggest slave market in the nation, introducing the African population to the colorful culture that already had settled in the territory.
Today, not only people of Cajun and African descent, but also those of Creole, Spanish, and Native American backgrounds, that are visible all over the state. While the state is ethnically diverse, all Louisianans have one thing in common, a modest and laid back lifestyle. The deep cultural roots of all these ethnicities transformed the state into a lively cultural hub for music, delicious one-of-a-kind cuisine, and a spirited social atmosphere. No city better represents this than New Orleans.
If jazz, jambalaya and drinking aren’t your thing, you better look elsewhere. Louisianans are proud of their diverse heritage and take celebrating their festivities very seriously. There’s no need to look any further than the annual Mardi Gras celebration for evidence of that.
To some, Louisiana may seem like a whole different country, with such diversity in population, language, and culture. But one thing holds true, whether it’s the heavy Cajun influence in the southern bayous or the African influence in the central and northern regions: The music never seems to stop. The celebrations of life transport its people to a simpler time and place.
If you’re looking to move to the state known for its Cajun cooking and love of everything jazz, it’s best to know where to find them. Here is a list of must-see sights so you don’t miss out on all the fun.
Must-sees in the state:
Every state has its ups and downs. The question is how you deal with them when they come flying at you with 90 mph winds. Here are the pros and cons of the Pelican State that you should consider before any boxes are packed.
Pros of living in the Pelican State:
Cons of living in Louisiana:
Every state has them. It doesn’t make them good. It doesn’t make them bad. But it definitely makes them entertaining. Here are a few of the more entertaining laws to keep an eye out for in Louisiana:
This hot and wild southern state may not be for everyone, but it’s definitely for someone. With an abundance of feisty culture, friendly people, and wildlife (alligators included), it’s no wonder people who visit fall in love with Louisiana.
If you aren’t completely set on a move to the Pelican State, never fear, it’ll still be there when you do decide (unless the Gulf swallows it up). Until then, take another gander at our pretty list (particularly the weird laws section), because we know (or hope) it’s full of helpful info that’ll make your decision a bit clearer. If this state isn’t for you, the great news is there are 49 more to choose from. Happy hunting!